[merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed]

London Fut Fet L1817 by the Irustees of the British Museum, L. Murray, Albemarle S Mefs Nicol, Fall Mail. & MetsLongman, Paternoster Row

A BRONZE statue of Hercules, bearing away the apples from the garden of the Hesperides. The Hesperides were three sisters, and according to Hesiod, were the daughters of Nox, (1) or Night; they had the care of the tree which bore the golden fruit, presented by Juno to Jupiter on her marriage with him. (2) In addition to the watchful care of these nymphs, the tree was guarded by an immense serpent, whose vigilance was never relaxed even by sleep. (3) The last labour imposed upon Hercules by order of Eurystheus, was that of carrying away the fruit of this tree,(4) which he accomplished with the same contempt of danger as had marked his other exploits. Hercules is here represented as having just achieved the destruction of the serpent, which is seen twined round the trunk of the tree, with its head hanging down in a lifeless manner. (5) He holds in his left hand the reward of his recent conquest, the Hesperian

* Εσπερίδας 3', αἷς μῆλα πέρην κλυτοῦ Ωκεανοῖο

Χρύσεα καλὰ μέλουσι, φέροντά τε δένδρεα καρπόν • Hesiodi Theog. v. 215.

2 â Ait yhμarti Hpa dwgnσaтo. Apollodori Biblioth. lib. ii. c. 5. s. ii.


Pomaque ab insomni non custodita dracone. Ovid. Met. lib. ix. v. 190.
Fuit aurea silva,

Divitiisque graves, et fulvo germine rami,
Virgineusque chorus, nitidi custodia luci,


Robora complexus rutilo curvata metallo.
Abstulit arboribus pretium, nemorique laborem
Alcides passusque inopes sine pondere ramos
Retulit Argolico fulgentia poma tyranno.

Lucani Pharsal. lib. ix. v. 368.

• Postremo Hesperidum victor tulit aurea mala.

Anthol. Vet. Lat. lib. i. ep. xlii. v. 12

" In this bronze, the appearance of the serpent is similar to the description given of it by Apollonius Rhodius. The animal has sufficient remains of life to enable it still to cling to the tree by means of the spiral windings of its lower extremity, while the head and upper part of the body appear to be quite dead.

Δὴ τότε γ ̓ ἤδη κεῖνος ὑφ ̓ Ἡρακλῆϊ δαϊχθεὶς
Μήλειον βέβλητο ποτὶ στύπος· οἰόθι δ ̓ ἄκρῃ
Οὐρὴ ἔτι σπαίρεσκεν· ἀπὸ κρατὸς δε κελαινὴν
Αχρις ἐπ' ἄκνηστιν κεῖτ ̓ ἄπνοος •

Apoll. Rhod. lib. iv. v. 1400.

apples; and he stands in a bold erect attitude, as if elated by the success of his enterprise. Of the club, which appears to have been held downwards, only a part remains in his right hand. The places from which the lion's skin has been suspended on the right arm, are very visible; several pieces of the skin are still preserved in this collection, but they are too much mutilated to be replaced.

We observe in the features of this Hercules the same expression of character as is given to him on the coins of Tyre,(6) a city in Phoenicia; and there can be little doubt that it is the Tyrian Hercules who is here represented. The Tyrians appear to have been one of the earliest people who paid divine honours to Hercules, and a temple of very remote antiquity, which was erected to him at Tyre, is commemorated by Herodotus(7) and other writers.(8)

In most of the ancient representations of this last labour of Hercules, the subject is treated with great simplicity. The hero is generally represented holding the apples in his hand, unaccompanied by any other emblem or allusion to the story connected with them. Suidas remarks the practice of representing Hercules in this particular manner. (9) It is thus that we see him in the celebrated Farnese statue; and the bronze statue of him which stood in the

6 Pellerin, Recueil de Médailles de Peuples et de Villes, tom. rr. pl. lxxxiii. fig. 36. 7 Καὶ θέλων δὲ τούτων πέρι σαφές τι εἰδέναι ἐξ ὧν οἷόν τε ἦν, ἔπλευσα καὶ ἐς Τύρον τῆς Φοινίκης, πυνθανόμενος αὐτόθι εἶναι ἱρὸν Ἡρακλέος ἅγιον· — ἐς λόγους δὲ ἐλθὼν τοῖσι ἱρεῦσι τοῦ θεοῦ εἰρόμην ὁκόσος χρόνος εἴη ἐξ οὗ σφι τὸ ἱρὸν ἵδρυται. εὗρον δὲ οὐδὲ τούτους τοῖσι "Ελλησι συμφερομένους, ἔφασαν γὰρ ἅμα Τύρῳ οἰκιζομένῃ καὶ τὸ ἱρὸν τοῦ θεοῦ ἱδρυνθῆναι· εἶναι δὲ ἔτεα ἀφ' οὗ Τύρον οἰκέουσι, τριηκόσια καὶ δισχίλια. Herodoti Hist. lib. ii. 44.

* Ἔστι γὰς ἐν Τύρῳ ἱερὸν Ἡρακλέους παλαιότατον ὧν μνήμη ἀνθρωπίνη διασώζεται, οὐ τοῦ Αργείου Ηρακλέους, του τῆς ̓Αλκμήνης. πολλαῖς γὰρ γενεαῖς πρότερον τιμᾶται ἐν Τύρῳ Ἡρακλῆς, ἢ Κάδμον ἐκ Φοινίκης ὁρμηθέντα Θήβας κατασχεῖν, καὶ τὴν παῖδα Κάδμῳ τὴν Σεμέλην γενέσθαι· ἐξ ἧς καὶ ὁ τοῦ Διὸς Διόνυσος γίνεται. Arrian. de Exped. Alexand. lib. ii. c. 16.

Καὶ ἔστι ἱρὰ καὶ ἐν Συρίῃ, οὐ παραπολὺ τοῖς Αἰγυπτίοισι ἰσοχρονέοντα, τῶν ἐγὼ πλεῖστα ὄπωπα, τό γε τοῦ Ἡρακλέος τὸ ἐν Τύρῳ, οὐ τούτου τοῦ Ἡρακλέος, τὸν Ἕλληνες ἀείδουσι, ἀλλὰ τὸν ἐγὼ λέγω πολλὸν ἀρχαιότερος, καὶ Τύριος ἥρως ἐστί. Lucian. de Syria Dea, 3.

* Καὶ γράφουσι δορὰν λέοντος φοροῦντα,

in voce ΗΡΑΚΛΗΣ.

καὶ ῥόπαλον φέροντα, καὶ γ' μῆλα κρατοῦντα. Suidas

Zeuxippus at Byzantium, and is described by Christodorus the


The subject, howOn a bronze coin of

poet, (10) appears also to have been similar. is sometimes treated with more detail. Gordianus Pius, struck at Tarsus, the tree is introduced by the side of Hercules ;(11) in a medallion of Antoninus Pius, not only the tree is represented, but likewise the three nymphs, or Hesperides, who seem to be flying from Hercules ;(12) and in the British Museum is a Greek vase, beautifully painted, which exhibits the subject with still greater detail.(13)

This fine statue was found in the ruins of a temple at Gebail, a small modern town, built on the site of the ancient Byblus, on the coast of Phoenicia. Two Greek inscriptions, of twelve or fourteen lines each, on plates of lead, are said to have been found with it, but they were immediately melted down by the barbarians into whose hands they fell. Dr. Swinney, Chaplain to the Factory at Constantinople, obtained this statue from some Greek merchants who brought it to that place; he sent it to England in the year 1779.

Height of the statue, 2 feet 6 inches; height of the whole, including the pedestal and tree, 3 feet 53 inches.

[blocks in formation]

Christodorus apud Anthol. Græc. tom. iii. p. 166, edit. Jacobs.

" Gessneri Num. Ant. Impp. Romanorum, Lat. et Græc. tab. clxxiii. fig. 25.

12 Numismata ærea selectiora, maximi moduli, e Museo Pisano, olim Corrario, tab. xvii.

fig. 2. et Musei Florentini Antiqua Numismata, maximi moduli, tab. xviii. fig. 3.

13 Sir William Hamilton's Collection of Etruscan, Greek, and Roman Antiquities, vol. i. pl. 127.

« VorigeDoorgaan »